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Criterion Collection: Do the Right Thing [DVD] [1989] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

4.5 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Region 1 encoding. (This DVD will not play on most DVD players sold in the UK [Region 2]. This item requires a region specific or multi-region DVD player and compatible TV. More about DVD formats)
Note: you may purchase only one copy of this product. New Region 1 DVDs are dispatched from the USA or Canada and you may be required to pay import duties and taxes on them (click here for details) Please expect a delivery time of 5-7 days.

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Product details

  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: R (Restricted) (US MPAA rating. See details.)
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004XQMV
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 155,703 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Spike Lee effectively combines humor and drama in this critically acclaimed film that traces the course of a scorching day on a block in the Bedford-Stuyevesant area of Brooklyn.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
I purchased this film just out of curiosity and of course like everyone else I was totally blown away by it. I consider it to be one the best films ever made and it is one of my favourite films. In short this film is totally mesmerising, powerful and incredibly important. Everything about the film just oozes confidence and daring. It is certainly not a film that suffers from a lack of imagination. This film is Lee's exposition on race and racial tension. I think ultimately that this is movie grounded in reality - no matter how PC people are they are sometimes just plain racists hiding behind smiles and that racism bubbling under the surface of polite society can explode at any moment.

Throughout the plot Lee explores the dynamics of a community in which different races have been living together for a long time and outwardly tolerating each other. However, long running issues such as economic deprivation, power struggles, questions of status, questions of responsibility, questions of history have been left unresolved and so manifest themselves in the form of racism. As well as this the inhabitants of Bed-Stuy (where the film is set) have shied away from the glaring fact that they are all different but they live alongside one another. Bed-Stuy is shown as a ticking time bomb whose time to detonate has come - on a maddeningly HOT day.

The acting performances can't be praised enough. Everyone from Lee (who plays Mookie) to Aiello (who plays Sal) to Perez (who plays Tina) to Nunn (who plays Radio Raheem) gives a cool and assured performance. I personally like Jackson's character, Mister Senor Love Daddy, a DJ-cum-philosopher who communicates his worldview over the airwaves.

The production is quirky and fresh. Every scene is vibrant and visceral.
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Format: DVD
When I first saw this film, I was utterly mesmerized by the lively, tumultuous tableau that Lee so masterfully painted. The dazzling array of characters, the tensions (racial or otherwise) that needed release in the heat, the sense of a fractious community - Lee really held it together. Then the climax of violence that came, from the spark of a needless killing, and threatened to engulf everyone. I loved it then and loved it now, 20 years after I first saw it.

Nonetheless, the film had aged considerably for a number of reasons. First and foremost, race relations have evolved decisively. We have a black president, in spite of all our persistent problems of poverty, under-achievement, and drugs. But I also found some of the acting a bit stilted, even from two great actors, Aiello and Samuel Jackson; even Ossie Davis and Turturro seemed locked in rather two-dimensional characters. Moreover, the complete absence of the drug culture makes the picture incomplete. Lastly, I found the climax, and particularly Mookie's unexpected action, harder to believe than I did when younger. As such, I find that there are new productions, such as the incomparable The Wire, have succeeded far better in exploring through art the issues that underlie America's ongoing urban crisis.

That being said, many of the performances are still fresh, both hilarious and affecting. The trio of men (with Sweet Dick WIllie) in ongoing dialogue, the wonderful anger of Rosie Perez, and the simmering rage of Ruby Dee are worth the price of admission. Moreover, the internal dialogue that the film is designed to provoke - similar to Bertold Brecht - is as effective and relevant as ever. This is a pioneering work that is well worth viewing again. It may even become a classic.

Warmly recommended.
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Format: DVD
Spike Lee's 1989 masterpiece Do The Right Thing is arguably the best film about racism ever made. I was trying to think of other comparators, and whilst there are of course many films about racism (and not just black/white racism) the other outstanding such film (for me) is probably To Kill A Mockingbird. However, despite being primarily about racism, the differences between the two films could not be greater. Perhaps the most (on the surface) surprising difference is that To Kill A Mockingbird (made in 1962) paints a relatively restrained (subtle) picture, whilst Spike Lee's later film is much more aggressive in its approach. This is (obviously) partly explained by changes in perceptions of film censorship over the period, partly by the ethnicity of the respective authors, but also seems to reflect the (perhaps worrying) conclusion that Lee considers that a more violent (revolutionary) stance is required on the issue nearly 40 years after the earlier film/book.

Lee's film is set in Brooklyn on the hottest day of the summer and documents how racial tensions spill over into a dramatic and violent climax. The narrative of the film centres on Sal Fragione's (played by Danny Aiello) pizza parlour, which it is pointed out by the black character Buggin Out (Giancarlo Esposito) shows only pictures of white Italian-Americans on the wall, with no African-Americans represented. Tensions rise to the extent that one night Buggin Out and fellow negro Radio Raheem (played by Bill Nunn) enter the pizzeria, a dispute and fight ensues with Radio Raheem eventually being strangled to death by an arriving police officer.
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